“The Cannondale Jekyll 29 3 is Cannondale’s long travel bike designed for Enduro racing. The 3 denotes that it is the first rung on the Jekyll 29 range, however, it’s spec still packs a punch. Carbon front triangle, 29” wheels, 150mm of Fox Performance suspension, Sram GX drivetrain and Guide R Brakes. I am 5ft 9, and so often find myself between bike sizes. I could comfortably ride a medium or a large frame in most brands. I opted for the smaller size (Medium) as I like my bikes to feel playful and easy to manoeuvre when the trail gets steep and tech.
My previous bike was a Giant Trance with 27.5” wheels. With the rise of 29ers in professional Downhill and Enduro racing I was keen to try this ‘new’ wheel size. Long travel 29ers have been around for a couple years and as I anticipated swinging a leg over the Jekyll felt great! The cockpit feels comfortable and I felt central in the bike. Handling wise, the wheels roll incredibly well and I found the 29” wheels didn’t feel too big or cumbersome in the corners. At times I was coming into corners that I’d ridden for years faster than I was used to, although it didn’t feel too fast until I was in the corner and realised I needed to back it off a bit. This is testament to the stability of the Jekyll (despite the relatively high BB), the suspension and wheels soak up the rough stuff, and feel very stable at speed which leaves you confident to attack the trail as much as you want. It didn’t take me long to settle into the new wheel size and reap the benefits of it.
I have long been a big fan of Stans wheels, and one of the things that drew me towards the Jekyll was the fact that it came with Stans rims as standard. The Stans Flow S1s are great despite being a little bit heavier than the Flow Mk3s that I had been used to, although the slightly porkier OE Maxxis Minion rubber, may be a contributing factor.
Cannondale have a little bit of a history when it comes to experimenting with suspension components, you just have to look at the famous Lefty and now the single crown Lefty Ocho. For the Jekyll, Cannondale have developed the Gemini shock with Fox. This is essentially a Fox air shock with a cable operated switch mounted to the bar to change between Hustle and Flow mode. Hustle mode reduces the available rear travel to 120mm and sits the bike higher in its travel (by reducing the air volume). Flow mode unleashes full travel (150mm) for the descents. Initially I had my doubts and thought it might be a bit of a gimmick but switching between Hustle and Flow, although more subtle than the marketing may have you believe, it does actually work! In Hustle mode the bike pedals well and being able to sit slightly higher in the travel again helps to aid pedaling efficiency. In flow mode the full beast is unleashed for descending and so far it has coped well with everything I have thrown it at.
Having only ever ridden Shimano brake and drivetrain components prior to taking ownership of the Jekyll, I was eager to test out what SRAM offers. The Jekyll 29 3, has 12 speed SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and Guide R Brakes. The gear changes are smooth and precise. I particularly like the reassuring click that you get from the shifter when changing gear. The range of the 11-50t cassette is impressive however, combined with the 30t chainring, I do sometimes wonder whether such a low gear is necessary. While It does make the steepest of climbs a lot easier, I may think about upsizing the chainring to see how much of a difference it makes. Moving over to SRAM brakes from years on Shimano did require a bit of an acclimatization period. I was used to the very definite, sharp bite point of a Shimano brake. In comparison, I found the Guide brake’s bite point to be a bit vague. After the first few rides I started to get used to how the Guide brakes deliver their power and modulation.
So far I have experienced less brake fade on longer descents than previous Shimano brakes.
I often describe my Jekyll as a bit of a monster truck, it loves to go fast and eat up anything it sees in its path; very true to Cannondales ‘over rather than around’ slogan. The short chainstays at the back helps keep things playful which in turn puts a massive grin on your face. Inevitably when you do have to pedal back up the hill the Gemini shock helps to stiffen things up and increase pedalling efficiency. Gemini combined with Sram Eagle means you can comfortably make it back up any hill for multiple laps. I look forward to every ride on this bike and can’t wait to get stuck into some races.
If you’re looking for a monster trail bike or an enduro race rig then look no further than the Cannondale Jekyll 29.” – MATT DULEY